In watching Episode 6 of Generation Kill, it seemed to me that the overall thematic point of the episode was viewer’s changing perceptions of many of the characters, but that in the end this changes nothing. This theme is very prominent in a few scenes of this episode, and I’d like to discuss them further. First, in the scene with the supply convoy (and the first American woman the soldiers have seen in a while), the sergeant with the odd accent demonstrates that he is not as “hickish” as he initially seems. When the men start cat-calling at the female soldier he admonishes them for acting like a bunch of junior high aged boys. This role reversal is reinforced again when Brad goes “flying.” He’s always been the no-BS all business leader of his squad, but his running around with arms out (and possibly giant colorful lower back tattoo??) seem like the actions of a hippie not a marine. Finally, although this isn’t even nearly all the examples, our view of the reservists fluctuates back and forth. At first we hear how they are “cowboys” and then see them act as such when they accidentally start shooting at Americans. However, after Captain America tortures a prisoner a leader of the reserve unit rightfully calls all of the marines “motherfuckers” for abusing the prisoner. Now it seems that it is the Marines that are the cowboys and the reservists that are the measured fighting force. Unfortunately all these changing perceptions don’t culminate in any meaningful change for the characters though. The command structure is still out of touch, demanding everyone be “team players,” and commending Captain America for his bogus capture while chastising Nate and his men for killing a civilian in compliance with the ROE. Finally, while most of the Marines are ready for the war to be over, the commanders are out politicking for one last mission. These characters might go through personal changes, and personnel changes, but the system will never change.
A few things from Episode 6
7 December 2009 · 2.16 pm · by mass_andy
Categories: reading responses